Tuesday 13 January 2015

Highway 524 abandoned bridge near Hays, Alberta

I got the idea to visit this place from simply doing a Google search for various abandoned places in Alberta, such as towns and bridges. I read a few websites and discovered quite a few places I did not know about. Some stuff I stumbled over by accident reading various maps and books during last winter provided the fodder for a few motorcycle trips during the summer.

I found out some information from a few internet sites and from a nice couple who were fishing off the bridge when I got there. The bridge crosses the Bow River and it seems to have been built in the 1910’s by someone who had originally built it as a private venture it for irrigating farmland. According to the story I heard he apparently started to run out of money and he thought the provincial government would help him out. Instead they let him sink. The bridge was turned into a road bridge.

It was an absolutely perfect weekend for motorcycle travel. I took a unhurried trip to here from Airdrie. It was very warm and sunny and no clouds in the sky. I had never been to this part of Alberta before. The Bow River does not flow very fast here and I was curious how deep it was. It is easy to get here, just be prepared for long stretches of emptiness and it is a bit far between gas stations. Especially if your motorcycle only has a three gallon gas tank. If you see a gas station and even if you have lots of gas stop and fill up anyway.

The bridge is steel and concrete and there are barricades at either side keeping you from driving across it. I walked over the bridge and it is absolutely rock solid. This structure was built to last. The road leading to the bridge off the highway has become just a dirt track over time. You can easily see the modern bridge off in the distance. Up on the top of the valley you can see a long abandoned irrigation canal that was never completed that was supposed to be part of the irrigation system with this bridge. The interesting thing is when you are travelling by highway before you get to this bridge you can see modern irrigation canals full of flowing water used to irrigate farmland. Whatever dream the original builder had regarding irrigation it did eventually happen. One of the canals comes down alongside this bridge to empty into the Bow River. You can see it in one of the pictures. I kind of wondered if the wooden approaches on either side were intentional or simply because he was running low on funds and needed less expensive construction materials.

Abandoned Highway 524 bridge taken September 20, 2014. At the top of the hills are long abandoned unfinished irrigation canals. Someone had grand plans at one point.

Concrete deck. At the end is a truck behind a barricade that belonged to a couple that were fishing off the bridge.

This was built to last

Irrigation spillway coming down from the hills

View from the old bridge to the modern highway bridge off in the distance


  1. Awesome post BWBandy, love the pictures! I have added you to my blogroll :-)

  2. Nice photos. Water looks deep and cool - makes me want to go for a swim.

  3. Thanks for the comments. You can run across some interesting stuff in the middle of nowhere.